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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Davos s’ouvre dans un climat pesant

by Ramine Abadie

Oppressive atmosphere as Davos opens

Translated Tuesday 31 January 2012, by Gene Zbikowski and reviewed by Derek Hanson

The meeting of “world leaders” in Switzerland faces economic crisis and dissent.

Geneva, from our correspondent. The 2012 meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) opens today (January 25) in Davos amid an oppressive atmosphere following years of crisis and the year 2011, during which the peoples were prompt to manifest their rejection of both authoritarian systems (in the Arab countries) and the pretentions of globalized capitalism, in which the pursuit of maximum profit brushes aside any consideration of the general interest.

The upper-crust resort in the Swiss mountains has been turned into a fortress guarded by thousands of soldiers, and even the 2,600 privileged participants in the WEF, the “deciders” as they like to call themselves, seem to hear the bullets whistling past… Obviously, it is no accident that the theme chosen for this year’s meeting is that of “the big transformation: modifying the economic models.”

In addition, although the activists of the Occupy WEF movement are being kept away by the police, they are camping in the vicinity, braving the snow and icy cold of the region in order to remind the participants that the times are a-changing. One of their spokespersons, Sascha Müller, said: “The Occupy movement is opposed to the great inequalities in our world – not only the inequalities in income and wealth, but also the inequalities in the political process and in decision-making. The result of the gaps in income and wealth is that the least privileged (Occupy Wall Street’s 99%) are eliminated more and more from the decision-making, and their interests are taken less and less into consideration.”

Should the example of the 2008 financial crisis, and the hundreds of billions of euros offered unconditionally to the financial establishments not be a sufficient illustration of this fact, it is confirmed by the present euro crisis and by the all-out austerity policies in Europe, which were pushed through in response to the euro crisis by Germany (whose Chancellor, Angela Merkel, opens the Davos meeting) and by France – to the detriment of jobs and economic growth.

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